Growing up in a large boisterous Irish family, food was the centre of everything. We all squashed round a big kitchen table each day arguing, shouting to be heard and generally having a good time while tucking into my mum’s good home cooking, which went on to inspire my range of cookery books. As soon as I was able to wield a knife I started to work alongside her and that way I learnt something new every day.
So when, many years later, I landed the dream job of Deputy editor, then Food Director of BBC Good Food magazine I was the happiest cook on the planet. I relished every moment of my 12 years in that post, a whirlwind of writing food features, meeting great chefs and fellow cooks, exploring new food trends and travelling the world.
But in 2005 I was ready for a new adventure so along with my husband Mick we moved to France where I continued to write about food and each summer the Good Food team arrived for a week to shoot summery stories in our riverside garden. In 2007 we opened Tasting France, our small bespoke cookery school, and welcomed guests both local and from across the world. It was a joy to share what I had learnt about French country cooking and seasonal shopping and preserving, as well as visiting local markets and producers and sampling the best our little local bistros had to offer.
Our 10 year French odyssey has left many fantastic memories but we are now back in Somerset to be nearer family and friends and to start a new chapter. Bramble Cottage has a glorious garden where I will be growing fruit and veggies and writing about my progress in my regular blog. I hope many of you will enjoy following my progress and if you have any recipe requests, cooking questions or tips of your own, have any comments or need a culinary helping hand… I’d love to hear from you.